Sunday, November 07, 2010

And So It Goes

Reality did indeed happen while I slept after writing that last post. When I awoke Wednesday morning, Republicans were a majority in the House and making a close run at the Senate. By the end of the day Obama admitted to a shellacking and Russ Feingold was defeated. Here in Washington, one of the bluest states, redoubtable Patty Murray was barely leading her challenger. She pulled it off quickly enough but by any measure the results are an ugly turn of events. A most dispiriting result.

But the sun rose in the east in the following days and life continued. I had some nice views of Jupiter in the evening sky and a waning crescent moon one morning as I walked to work in the dark. The election was hardly the end of the world. Washington Congressman Norm Dicks who will lose the chair of a powerful defense appropriations subcommittee in the next Congress said, you play the hand you’re dealt.” So I’ll do that and hope for the best. It will all work out one way or the other. Good or bad. Somehow, America will muddle through.

As an antidote to the ugly election returns, I attended the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation fall retreat Friday evening and Saturday. The retreat centered on WWFOR’s “Bring the Billions Home” campaign which advocates bringing the war spending home to America. Progressive activists in the Puget Sound region shared their experiences taking that message to the larger community, including a guerrilla bake sale to support Seattle libraries that are reducing hours due to funding cuts. I attended useful workshops on framing issues and speaking with public officials. The latter workshop was conducted by our local state senator.

So that’s my take on the election. It sucks. But last time it didn’t suck and nothing really changed so the next two years probably won’t be any worse than the last two years. The screeching heads and nonsensical, non dialogue that passes for political discourse in this nation will continue. Here in Olympia I’ll keep talking and writing sense.

Beyond the workshop, the weekend was highlighted by a showing of Buster Keaton’s silent film, “The General” at the Capitol Theater, complete with live piano. I’d seen the film as a video but it is much, much better on a full screen. In one of life’s little victories, I got in line barely under the canopy on a rainy night. The line quickly lengthened behind me.

Another victory came this morning when the rain which had been steady off and on since Friday afternoon and heavy last night, ended and skies cleared enough to get out for an early bike ride.

Life goes on.

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